Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Noh Costume (Karaori) with Pattern of Fans Floating on Water

Edo period (1615–1868)
18th century
Twill-weave silk brocaded with silk and metallic thread
60 x 50 in. (152.4 x 127 cm)
Credit Line:
Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891
Accession Number:
Not on view
The layering of patterns and techniques is particularly complex in this Noh costume. The water pattern woven in gold, known as Kanze mizu ("Kanze water") because of its association with the Kanze school of Noh performers, flows gently over background blocks of red, brown, and light blue. On the water float various fans-open, closed, and half-open-that overlap intriguingly and, in their turn, are covered with flowers. Yōgao (literally, "evening faces") flowers partially cover the half-open fans, and the fully open fans are nearly concealed by auspiciously wrapped peonies and bush clover (hagi). The fan pattern repeats along the length of the costume but does not seem at all repetitive thanks to the skillful use of color in the textile.
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